Living in a motel, this 22-year-old is desperate to find a place to rent
Joshua McClement has been denied over and over again, given no reasons why
At 22-years-old Joshua McClement thought he'd be in college or preparing for a career — not living in a motel, unable to find a home for himself to rent.
Though he had an apartment before, things took a turn for McClement in March of 2020 when the pandemic shuttered the bar where he works as a DJ and stage manager.
At the time, he had to leave the apartment he was in because he wasn't sure if he could afford it any longer. McClement said he moved in with his mother but soon felt he was overstaying his welcome.
"I felt that I was impeding her way of life, because for one person to come and live," he said. "No good. Especially putting your friends and family through that situation."
Through tears, McClement told CBC News exactly how it feels having to move into a motel for $350 per week without a permanent home — unsure.
"You don't know if you're going to be back to work or if you can even make it back to work. You just don't know," he said.
You're turning [away] people with good money, good references, good places of work — you're turning them away- Joshua McClement
With personal savings and Employment Insurance, McClement tried to get back into the rental market. But in a year, a lot has changed.
Although he's got a budget of about $1,000 to $1,200 for monthly rent and can offer first and last month — McClement said he's been denied many times, with landlords demanding information like where he's from, where he works, what hours he works and character references. He said he's made deposits on rental units, only to have them returned.
He said he's even been denied once because he works afternoons.
Real estate agents and other experts say a shortage of rental houses has become particularly acute in some areas of Ontario, which, like much of Canada, is dealing with housing affordability issues. The problem could get worse as new families are created or arrive through immigration.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation data also shows average rents for all housing types in the Ontario cities of Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, London and Windsor went up between 4.7 and 8.4 per cent in 2020 — even as vacancies increased in nearly all those cities. (Hamilton was the exception.)
Another factor for those looking to rent are bidding wars — becoming increasingly common in Ontario.
McClement said he's tried renting through private landlords, management companies, house-searching agencies and even has someone mentoring him — but always gets declined and is not given a reason why. However, he said it's hard for people on EI.
"People need to be less choosey with their rentals," said McClement.
"There's people that are trying out here. People that are stuck in motel rooms, people that are stuck out on the streets. You're turning [away] people with good money, good references, good places of work — you're turning them away."
McClement said he sees people even younger than him on the streets of downtown Windsor all the time, in his same predicament. He said people "just like him" are turned away and end up having nowhere to go.
He hopes the government will step in to mandate affordable housing for more people. In the meantime, McClement is pushing forward.
"I'm healthy, I can keep looking, you just have to keep trying you can't give up," he said.
"And to anyone out there who sees this don't give up. If a 22-year-old can make it this far, you can too."
With files from Jacob Barker, James Dunne